Ulm, the south German city, has come with a creative idea on how to shelter the homeless during the cold winter weather. They created a series of sleeping capsules, or ‘nests’ that are a perfect solution for those who are unwilling to go to the traditional shelters.
These capsules can fit up to two people, allowing the homeless to get some sleep and stay warm in winter when it’s incredibly dangerous to be outside. They can also be locked, ensuring full safety.
As great as the idea of this shelter might sound, unfortunately, they are only accessible in the winter and there are only a few of them. Their only goal is to keep the homeless from freezing to death.
Image credits: ulmernest
The nests are in the second year of being used and tested in Ulm and there’s still lots of improvement that’s being done. Each nest is still assembled by hand and their current cost is higher than it will be once the prototypes are done being improved. The pods are well-insulated, have solar panels installed in them, and even have enough space for luggage and a pet. The ‘nests’ are professionally cleaned after use to ensure that acceptable hygiene standards are maintained.
“For this winter, we modified details of our door in an effort to improve usability both for the people sleeping in the Nests and the Social Workers checking in on them. Also, we spent a good deal of time improving insulation and climate management, to be able to keep humidity and temperature at the best possible levels while operating on a limited budget of energy. Related to this, we also improved the connected-ness of the Nests by integrating them into the Ulm city’s own wireless IoT network,” the Ulmer Nest team member shared the high-tech details of the capsules.
The Ulmer Nest project was started up at the request of the city of Ulm as part of their temporary problem-solving initiative “Wilhelmsbüro” in 2018. The team behind the project to help the homeless consisted of product and interface designers, as well as software and hardware developers.